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Marine Plasma & Honeybee Enzyme Trialled by Galway Company for Protection Against Covid-19 & Other Infections

21st February 2021
Honeybees in healthy hives tend to be quite resistant to infections
Honeybees in healthy hives tend to be quite resistant to infections Credit: Beemar

A combination of marine plasma and an enzyme produced by honeybees is being tested by an Irish biotechnology company and two universities for its effectiveness against Covid-19.

As The Sunday Times reports today, Cellnutrition Health Ltd plans to work with NUI Galway (NUIG) and Trinity College, Dublin (TCD) on trials that will involve combining the bee’s enzyme with marine plasma to prevent infection and treat those already infected.

The Galway-based company founder Declan Clarke, who holds an MSc in marine science, says the combination of the two natural materials has the potential to work as a “natural vaccine and immunotherapy”.

He believes it may be effective against not only Covid-19 but also other viruses, bacteria, fungi and certain parasites.

Named “Beemar”, the combination relies on “both adaptive and innate immunity to provide protection against the virus and its variants,” Clarke said.

Dr Daniel O’Toole of NUI Galway’s school of medicine said that it was one of a number of potential treatments being tested at the university.

“Honeybees in healthy hives tend to be quite resistant to infections, through use of this enzyme called lysozyme which basically chews up any foreign bodies,” Dr O’Toole said.

“Marine plasma is basically concentrated seawater, and saltwater tends to have a long history of being very good for the lungs,” he noted.

Dr Kim Roberts, Ussher assistant professor of microbiology at TCD, said that the company was in discussion with the university to test the “Beemar” product on cells to see if it protected them from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

It is one of several projects which TCD is working on, she said.

Read more in The Sunday Times here

Published in Marine Science
Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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